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Dennis Ashbaugh
Born 1946
Nationality American
Field Abstract art
Works Agrippa (a book of the dead)
Influenced by William Gibson
Awards Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship[1]

Dennis John Ashbaugh (born 1946 in Red Oak, Iowa) is an American painter and artist from New York.[1][2] He is one of the first artists to employ DNA marking patterns in paintings, in his 1992 work Designer Gene.[3] Ashbaugh's use of light and colour in his large-scale paintings of autoradiographs have drawn comparison with Mark Rothko.[3] He is a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and has had his work exhibited by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, the Seattle Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art among others.[1][4] Ashbaugh is particularly known for his large portraits of computer viruses and DNA, which have been acquired for the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the New York Metropolitan.[4]

Dominant themes of Ashbaugh's works are networks and viruses — computer and biological — though he does not use computers to create the works.[5] He is renowned for his 1992 collaboration with speculative fiction novelist William Gibson, an artists' book called Agrippa (a book of the dead).[6] Gibson's writings — as well as those of his friend, collaborator and fellow cyberpunk Bruce Sterling — influenced many of Ashbaugh's paintings: "Their writings have had a life-changing influence on me, … When I first read Gibson, I walked through the East Village and thought, 'Oh, what a lovely place this is.' It changed my notion of urban decay."[7]

Ashbaugh purchased a trim frame house in Flamingo Park, West Palm Beach, Florida with his companion, best-selling self-help author Alexandra Penney.[8] The New York Times has characterised Ashbaugh as "a charismatic ex-surfer whose address book can probably hold its own against that of the most aggressive jet set type."[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Dennis John Ashbaugh (1946 - )". AskART. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  2. ^ "Ashbaugh: Art Is In the Genes". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): pp. C02. February 17, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  3. ^ a b Anker, Suzanne (2004). The Molecular Gaze. Plainview: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0879696974. 
  4. ^ a b "The Center for Book Arts ~ Dennis Ashbaugh". The Center for Book Arts. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  5. ^ Wei, Lilly (October 1993). "Dennis Ashbaugh at Marisa del Re.". Art in America. "Many of Ashbaugh's works deal thematically with computer and biological networks and viruses, but he does not use computers to create the works. A painting titled WYSIWYG is a series of blurred black, green and purple pulses that evokes movement. The subject matter of Dennis Ashbaugh's recent show highlights biological and computer technology although (and perhaps perversely) the execution does not. These variously scaled paintings--from 3 feet to 10 feet in their largest dimension-derive their syntax from familiar abstract sources: Color Field painting, the textured surfaces of matter painting, early Frank Stella, Agnes Martin.". 
  6. ^ Jonas, Gerald. "The Disappearing $2,000 Book". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  7. ^ Markoff, John (November 25, 1990). "Ideas & Trends; Art Invents A Jarring New World From Technology". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  8. ^ a b Trebay, Guy (March 28, 2004). "West Palm Beach Welcomes You". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2008-07-30. 

Further reading

  • Boyd, Kerry (1985). 58f Plaza. Sovenga: The University. ISBN 093531430X. 

External links



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